What Do I Wear?
There is a question that has plagued mankind since the dawn of its existence, a question which can be heard on the lips of every human being each morning, each evening, each social event and every day trip. In all weather, time zones, social classes and situations there is a question we all utter, moan, cry, scream and emphasise. In front of mirrors, in changing rooms, rifling through wardrobes, drawers and laundry piles this question, when spoken, seems so seemingly unanswerable.
“What do I wear?”
Through time and generation and the evolution of the weekend there has come along another question which seems to haunt us just as much as the first.
“What shall I listen to?”
At first glance these questions may seem unrelated, but with a head tilt and a pondering gaze it doesn’t take much cognitive function to realise that two subjects have never been so closely related. In truth, music and fashion have been wondering hand in hand around mankind since we first crawled out of the water and towards a reflective surface. It’s all about expression, about how we feel and how we want the world to see us. Music and fashion are two of the biggest forms of expression we have. We’re a rather emotional species, many of us choosing to wear our hearts on our sleeves, collars, cuffs and every other aspect of our outfit. It’s incredibly personal and yet universally shared, what’s going on our bodies and in to our ears is something we take as great importance, even if we don’t necessarily realise so at first.
We spend the first few years of our lives under someone else’s control. We are dressed and we are put in to an environment that we can’t do anything about. We’re around others music tastes and forced in to their fashion sense. As time goes on, as we crawl on grow and develop our own tastes, opinions and understanding of ourselves we either take influence from those around us or rebel against it – and then life happens. We get friends and more friends, we have lovers and losers and everything in between. We feel things for the first time and the second time and the third time, we swear never to feel things again and chase after feelings with all the energy we can muster. In short – we become who we are now, and all those things, all those feelings and people and situations and everything else that’s happened in our lifetime have influenced these two major aspects of our lives.
Think about it. Think about that boyfriend or girlfriend from x amount of years ago. Think of the songs they listened to, think of what they wore. Think of your school friends. Think of your best friend. Think of your ex friends. Think of the people who broke your heart. Think of your mother. Their life, their journey and the people throughout will have influenced them and their music and their style and in turn in entering your life, they have influenced yours whether it be positive or negative.
It’s not just on a personal level but also on a global scale. With every generation, every decade there has been a new movement with its own soundtrack and wardrobe to match. In every aspect the world went through major changes in the 20th century, music, fashion, social, culture, and technology – we strode through those hundred years getting bolder with each step. The 20th century revolutionised us in both fashion and music, the last half of the century making the two subjects practically inseparable and one always a heavy influence on the other. The swinging sixties, the rebellious seventies, the electronic eighties and the grunge/hip hop nineties are the biggest times when music and fashion mixed to each create their own cultures and subcultures. Our fashion and music sense became not just a choice but a way of life and a state of mind.
It’s the youth in us that grabs on to these movements with both hands and hangs on tight, rides it until the wheels fall off and then take only what we’ve managed to keep a hold of in to adulthood. In each of these important decades it’s the teenagers that have developed and carried the movements through both fashion and music wise, like the kids of the 90’s with either long hair, shorts and Nirvana t-shirts or woollen hats, baggy jeans and excessive gold jewellery. The American malls of the 80’s filled with big hair and shoulders pads and Walkman’s blasting the latest Madonna or Michael Jackson.
No other decade had a clash quite like that of the 60’s with infamous feud between the mods and rockers. These two groups of youths each had their own way of life and fought constantly causing them to be referred to by society as the folk devils. Rockers listened to 1950’s rock and roll and dressed in ripped jeans and leather jackets, whereas Mods listened to music of the 1960’s including ska, rhythm and blues and soul and prided themselves in their trench coats, skinny trousers and pops of bright blue, white and red. The two rode around on motorcycles (rockers) and scooters (mods) and often clashed violently – and even though this era, like so many others, appears to be long gone its fashion and music is still lingering on today.
Being the nostalgic species we are, we’ve kept the best (and sometimes the worst) from these times whilst continuously inventing new ones – every season a new look, a new item, a new movement and sound. We cram what used to take us years in to seasonal changes, and we just keep getting better at it. The high street is filled with whispers from decades long gone as we rehash the past and put a brand new spin on things.
Examples of this are all too easy to find, and it’s not long before you come across pieces such as this – the Harrington jacket by Adaptor Clothing. The pop of solid colour, the fit, the feel – everything from cuff to collar is such a statement of mod you can practically hear the rattling engine of a 60’s scooter. This is just one of many pieces in their ever growing collection which will have you yearning for a simpler time and a bolder sense of style.
At Boohoo there’s a plethora of the latest fashion, including the relatively new craze of the slogan t-shirt. In particular the Amy Brooklyn Slash Neck Slogan Tee gives off those late 80’s/early 90’s hip hop vibes left right and centre. The loose, slouching fit and the large bold font are such classic elements of this time in fashion and music that they’re still relevant and fresh today.
UK clothing company Hell Bunny are renowned for their take on that classic 50’s style. Their Cannes 50’s Dress is the picture of Rockerbilly, from the puffed out skirt perfect for swinging and shaking to that dipping sweetheart neckline, definite to entice any bad boy off his motorcycle and in to your vicinity. It’s such a statement dress that is sure to have you reaching for your kitten heals and record player – ready to jive along to the latest Elvis and the likes.
The relationship we have to music and fashion is a strong one that only seems to get stronger with time. It’s easy to see how one has influenced the other throughout the evolution of our cultures and how, in turn, this has helped to shape us as individuals. With the world ever changing through conflict, socialisation, technology and all that surrounds us – much and fashion remain those two entities that soak up all the chaos and beauty of the world and reflect the human race in such a personal yet global sense.
By Hev Bailey